James Nixon | 1:51pm BST 04 May 2018
Making long-term predictions when it comes to cricket is never easy, especially when it comes to big-pressure tournaments like the Ashes or the ICC World Cup. Sourav Ganguly addressed the latter competition recently, suggesting that India should be favourites for the World Cup in England next year. The former Test captain believes that India’s quality merits the favourites tag despite the fact they have not won a Test series in England since 2007.
Indeed, as most cricket fans will be aware, India will be heading to England for a Tour this summer, with firm hopes of recapturing the Pataudi Trophy that England have held since 2011. It will be something of an acid-test for both sides ahead of the 2019 World Cup, with India out to prove they can dominate on English soil, whereas England will be keen to prove home advantage can take them beyond the number one ranked side in test cricket.
England given top odds as World Cup hosts
Despite that number one Test ranking, India are not the favourites with the bookmakers to win the World Cup. In fact, both England and Australia have been placed above them in the odds. While there is some disagreement among bookmakers, almost all have placed England around 3/1 to win their first World Cup. Although they will have a built-in advantage as host nation, that’s quite a short price when you consider they have never won the World Cup before.
Australia’s odds did rise slightly after the suspensions of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft over the ball tampering scandal, although the trio will be back from suspension and will be available for selection. In fact, a couple of bookmakers (Paddy Power, Betfair) have gone as far making Australia 3/1 favourites for the tournament. Most bookies, however, have them around the 4/1 or 9/2 mark. You can check out the guide to sports betting in Australia to get free bets and promos for the Australian team from local betting companies.
India possibly the value bet of the tournament
As for Ganguly’s former side, India are best-priced around 9/2 and look arguably the best value ahead of the tournament, although you would expect those odds to rise or fall with the manner of their performance in England this summer. The Indian team is just so stacked full of talent – Kohli, Jadeja, Aswhin and others – that it is difficult to see a weakness. However, Indian cricket fans will remember all too well the 2007 World Cup when they started as favourites but were promptly humbled and sent home early.
As ever with cricket, focusing on the perceived favourites leaves fans – and punters – open to shocks. For that matter, South Africa are also looking very accomplished and do represent betting value at 11/2. New Zealand (7/1) and Pakistan (10/1) might have to show a bit more in the coming months before punters will part with their money.
The point is that it is quite difficult to call a favourite with still over a year to go before the World Cup. Nearly every Test-playing nation has some sort of flaw or disadvantage hanging over them before the tournament, issues that may or may not be addressed in the coming months. You can see in the close odds that the bookies are undecided, as too are plenty of the fans. The only way to truly settle the issue over favourites is with hindsight, so we will find out in just over 400 days’ time.
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